Women’s health nurses specialize in taking care of female patients. They are licensed to offer nursing services for the treatment and prevention of illnesses that are unique to women. The RNs address reproductive system challenges that many women face. They assess any patient that has female-specific issues that often include menstruation, pregnancy, infertility, childbirth and sexually transmitted diseases. A typical day in the life of a Women’s Health Nurse includes:
- Administering medicine
- Recording patients’ medical histories
- Recording observations
- Setting up patient treatment plans
- Operating hospital testing equipment
- Consulting with doctors
- Teaching patients the various ways of preventing diseases
Salaries Hub reports that nurse practitioners earn a mean wage of $95,350 annually. If this is a career path you are interested in pursuing, here are several steps you need to go through to become a women’s health nurse.
Attain an Undergraduate Degree in Nursing
No health organization will allow you to practice as a women’s health nurse without an undergraduate degree in nursing from a recognized nursing school. Many states in America can allow you to practice after attaining an associate’s nursing degree after spending two years in a junior college. That said, recent developments in the sector are changing these requirements and more healthcare providers will now require you to be a holder of Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. If you are just getting started in your pursuit in this field, it is advisable that you go for a four-year university or college nursing course.
Gain Work Experience
After graduation, the next step is obtaining a valid registered nurse license. This is done through the board of nursing in your state. While the requirements will vary from one state to another, most boards will need to see your nursing degree, evidence of clinical experience and documents showing a pass in the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). You can begin building your experience by finding jobs in community clinics, hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, family planning practices, public health institutions as well as other such private practices.
Pursue Professional Certification
To increases your chances at landing a decent job, you should consider pursuing a specialized nursing certification. You can be certified as a High Risk Obstetric Nurse, an Ambulatory Women’s Health Care Nurse, or an Infertility/Reproductive Endocrinology Nurse. The National Certification Corporation (NCC) is the government body that gives these certifications to licensed RNs. To apply, you must have attained a specialty experience of at least 2,000hrs in addition to being required to attain a passing score in your certification exam. There are 250 centers where you can go and take this certification test which takes two hours to complete.
Join Graduate Nursing School
While it is not a requirement that you earn a Master’s degree in nursing to practice as a women’s health nurse, pursuing this higher education can open new doors to become a WHNP (Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner) who is allowed by law to offer primary care to patients with almost zero supervision from a doctor. Becoming a WHNP will also see your earnings go up significantly to an average mean wage of $97,990.
With enough determination, time and effort, you will be well on your way to becoming a respected care giver to female patients in whichever state you live. By taking the above steps, you can become one of the country’s registered nurses who help women with their gynecological and reproductive health issues.